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Like Goodwood or Laguna Seca, but on the water at Monaco Classic Week


For the 14th time since 1994, the Yacht Club de Monaco staged its biennial Monaco Classic Week for boats this past weekend in a watery version of Goodwood or, perhaps, of the vintage sports car races at Laguna Seca or those hosted by Monte Carlo itself.

“It is a stunning celebration of the yachting lifestyle that dates back over generations, putting the spotlight on gleaming hulls and beautiful boats, be they sailing or motor,” the organizers proclaimed.

 “It is not just about competition but naval etiquette done with panache by the Club in partnership with Rolex and Credit Suisse.”

One of the many yachting races held during the week

The trophy for the most elegant and best-restored yacht went to Puritan, originally launched in 1930, while the La Belle Classe restoration prize went to Ester, a 1901 Swedish sloop resurrected 75 years after burning and sinking more than 150 feet to the seabed.

“It was not until 2012 that Per Hellgren finally managed to locate the wreck using sonar,” the Monaco event organizers said. “She was raised in 2016, which marked the start of an incredible restoration story, the results of which were admired by all.”

“Back in 2012 I was thinking how thrilling it would be to bring Ester to Monaco Classic Week,” said Bo Ericsson, one of the boat’s owners. “Seven years later, that dream became a reality. We put together the cream of international technicians, for the hull, frames, rigging, sails, etc. 

“Of course, much of the boat has been rebuilt with Swedish pine and spruce. But thanks to the very accurate documents we found in Sweden, we were able to follow to the letter the details of the original construction. It has been an amazing adventure. The end result has exceeded even our craziest expectations.”

More than 100 classic yachts, including seven schooners, took part in the events, with sailors, owners and skippers coming from 26 countries.

America’s Cup competitors were featured ‘marque’

The featured “marque,” if you will, was a focus on the glory years of American sailing and motor boats. Present were the 1987 America’s Cup winner French Kiss from the Manhattan Yacht Club and 1946 winner Comet from Nantucket. Also taking part was the SS Delphine, the largest steam-powered boat still sailing, organizers said, and built by the Dodge family.

Another highlight was the presence of Atlantic, the New York yacht Club schooner that in 1905 set a record for an Atlantic crossing — 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute, 19 seconds.

The 1930 schooner Puritan won the Elegance and La Belle Classe Restoration award. 

The Elegance Prize for motorboats was awarded to Miss Nancy while the 1905 cutter Oriole took that award for sailing yachts.

Steam engine yachts got to race as well

“Sailing on these classic boats is magical, but obviously not because of the speed but other sensations, even their very particular smell,” said Franck Cammas, skipper of Gitana 17. 

“When you have a taste for the sea, beauty is important,” he added.
Technically, when we are hesitating on choices, we opt for the most beautiful, and generally that works out. A lovely boat is a quick boat! And vice-versa, a boat that is fast becomes beautiful. Aesthetics are less important today in boat development, but we must never forget our traditions.”

Vintage boats fill the harbor

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. Larry: Though I enjoyed the article, I was out of breath looking for relief brought about by the end of a thought. And the use of that tiny dot called a "period". Oh, the lowly "period"… .

    Your first four graphs are coincidentally also four sentences.

    Keep up the good work but feel free to punctuate.

    And as long as I’m being critical, I find it much more interesting knowing WHO is speaking at the beginning of their thought. Instead of reading a whole graph then tagging it with "…said Lord Blumenthal."

    Regards, Cliff


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